General Sales Tax Audits Revisited
Earlier this month, we broke the news of an internal statement within the General Sales Tax Department where Officer in Charge of the Punta Gorda office, Elmer Reyes, alleged that there was influence in the result of the auditor’s evaluation and subsequent report. Reyes openly questioned whether any law exists that allows for the management of the department to mark up the figure of collection for unreported revenue. That claim was later dismissed by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke in a letter issued by the Ministry of Finance. The SolGen listed several sections within the law that speak to administration and responsibility, stating that it is highly improper for an officer to challenge the method of assessment recommended by senior management. Well, there are more questions tonight, including a suggestion that Financial Secretary Joseph Waight should have welcomed the opportunity to sit down with Reyes to look over the cases that were mentioned in the complaint. This is premised on the fact that the G.S.T. Act is set up to protect both taxpayers and government from abuse. The Commissioner of Sales Tax is tasked with discharging his duty justly and within the ambit of the law, which means that he should share methodology, as well as working papers with the tax payer. That position is being called into question. We’ll have more information, including a memorandum from the Auditor General to the Commissioner of G.S.T. on audit inspection in Friday’s newscast.